HL Deb 17 March 2005 vol 670 c41WS
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor has today published the Government's response to the Public Administration Select Committee's first report of Session 2004–05 onGovernment by Inquiry which was published on 3 February 2005. The Government's response includes comments on each of the 22 recommendations of the committee.

The Government welcome the committee's report on the use and effectiveness of independent inquiries into matters of public concern. The committee's response is of immediate relevance to the current parliamentary debate on the Inquiries Bill, which has now entered the House of Commons having completed its passage through the House of Lords.

The Inquiries Bill is designed to provide a comprehensive statutory framework for inquiries set up by Ministers into events that have caused, or have the potential to cause, public concern.

The Government believe that government amendments brought forward in the House of Lords address many of the issues raised in the committee's report. However, the Government are keen that the recommendations in the report, and our response published today, should both help to inform the debates on the Inquiries Bill as it continues its passage through Parliament.

I have placed copies of the response in the Libraries of the House and it has also been published on the Department for Constitutional Affairs website at www.dca.gov.uk.